Jesus is David's King.

It is often observed that rulers' degree of success depends on who they listen to. The people behind the man in an elevated position often matter just as much.

Psalm 110 reveals who is behind King David. It is helpful to know the historical context first. If your Bible has section headings or chapter titles, those were added by translators to our English translations. Historical notes that come before individual psalms (in this case, "A Psalm of David") are an original part of the Hebrew text. They are even included as part of verse 1 in some manuscripts. This psalm does not give much detail, but our study will be helped by multiple references to this psalm from the New Testament. Eleven of the 27 books quote or refer to this psalm.

We may gather that the man behind King David is no ordinary man. He is a Lord (master), has a scepter and armies, and is all-powerful. This King is indeed Jesus, the Messiah. We will study the psalm with this question in mind: What kind of King do God's people have?

The Truth About Our King Today

Psalm 110:1, 4 describe King Jesus today. These are the verses that the New Testament writers often reference. Christ's current position is at the right hand of God's throne. He is superior.

Readers of this psalm at any time may have wondered at the fact that David, the king of Israel, says he has a master. Jesus addresses this very question in Matthew 22:41-46. Peter further confirms that this is a Messianic psalm in Acts 2:34-36.

Jesus' current work is that of a priest. God declares Him so in verse 4. He uses an unconditional oath. As we read God's Word, it's important to distinguish between a decree and an announcement. An announcement is a strong warning of judgment unless people's actions change. A decree is unconditional and unchanging. God does not change His mine.

No king has ever served simultaneously as a priest. These offices required 2 different bloodlines in Israel: the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Levi. But God can declare His Messiah both king and priest.

The details of Jesus' priestly work are spelled out in Hebrews 1:3, 8:1, 10:12-14, and 12:2.

Jesus is a priest forever. This is also so because God decreed it. Hebrews again expounds on the fact that there is a legitimate priesthood outside the line of Aaron and Levi. Melchizedek was a shadow or picture of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. (See Genesis 14 and Hebrews 7:7-10.)

Today, Jesus is sitting. You might almost say He is inactive; He is still sovereign, but He is not actively reigning on the earth. His throne is in heaven now; in the future, it will be in Zion, Jerusalem. Hebrews 10:11 says that His work is finished, and it is sufficient for our salvation. Today, He offers salvation and changes hearts. We long for all to be made right regarding the actions of this world, but that comes in the future.

Jesus is at God's right hand. We cannot bring things to God ourselves and be honored, unless we go through Jesus Christ as our priest.

The Truth About Our King in the Future

Psalm 110:2-3, 5-7 can assure us when we are unsettled by events of the present world. There is a plan to make all right again. Jesus' enemies are currently at large, but they will be made to submit. We can look forward to watching YAHWEH and Jesus working together toward this end. We may even participate in the army that comes with Jesus in Revelation 19:11-16. At the end, Jesus will rest forever from His work, unquestionably sovereign and victorious (verse 7).

Although now is not the time we can expect peace and security on the earth, now is the time for confident worship because of Christ's priestly work. Today, we can be witnesses of His work to others who need spiritual freedom.

Application Points

  • In a disciple-making environment, it is pertinent to ask who is behind you? Who do you listen to? Who are you seeking to imitate? Do they have King Jesus as the person behind them?
  • We can apply this truth to our hearts every day, not just the week of an election. Jesus is on His heavenly throne, and He is always sovereign. Our proper response is to worship Him confidently and witness to His salvation work.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • See above.